What is IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics)?

IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) or ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) checks mass storage devices such as hard drives and ATAPI (Advanced Technology Attachment Packet Interface), and also adds devices such as DVD-ROM or CD-ROM to the system.

What is IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics)?

What is IDE or ATA?

The original name of IDE was ATA, and the interlocking cable created by IBM overtime was widely used because manufacturers realized that they had to make universal components, and therefore is the synonym for ATA because both technologies are interconnected.


The ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) standard was originally designed as the old PIO (Programmed Input Output) to transmit and receive data in 1988.

Initially, controllers were used as expansion cards, mostly ISA, and were integrated only into motherboards made by brands such as IBM, Dell, or Commodore.

In 1996, two AT transmission modes, ATA-2 or EIDE, appeared to meet the need for larger data streams.

Due to the low performance of ATA-2 and load on the processor, the Ultra ATA model was developed in 1998, using the DMA bus and not needing to use the processor for data transfer.

Besides their most common version, they were multiple I/O cards that grouped RS-232 ports and parallel port. Also, only high-end models had SIMM connectors to cache the disk.

Then, with device integration, a single chip was enabled to do all the work.


With the PCI bus, IDE controllers are always included to be part of the chipset on the motherboard, and usually, both controllers have two connectors to support two devices.

One of the two hard drives connected to the computer must be master and the other slave so that the controller can identify the device to send and receive data.

The Master and Slave setting is configured with a jumper available on disks.

If there is only one disk connected by IDE cable, the disk can work as Master, but if a new disk or CD, DVD reader is added, you will need to configure these devices as Slave.

In short, when you add a device to the system, it must have a Master device in the environment for it to work as a Slave and the device will be Master or Slave depending on its location in the cable.

Different colors are used to distinguish the connector to which the bus will be connected, and if there are two devices connected to this connector over a single cable, one device will operate while the other will not be available.

This problem with cables has been fixed with S-ATA and SCSI technologies that can use two devices per channel.

Although new connectivity technologies are introduced, old socket disks are used much more widely than SCSI because of their much lower prices. In addition, its performance is slower than SCSI.

UDMA performs Bus Mastering in SCSI, which reduces CPU load and increases speed. Serial ATA allows each hard drive to operate without interfering with the others.

Although SCSI is superior to IDE, SATA has begun to be used for computer systems because its performance is much higher and its price is more advantageous.

The interface uses a 40-pin flat and plug-in cable on the motherboard for a device to be added.

Each pin has a function assigned as 15 data bits and has a notch to verify that both ends are installed correctly.

The cable connects to one end of the port of a hard disk and the other end to the color-coded or notched interface, which is a flat rectangle on the motherboard.

Some cables have 44 pins, this 4 pin is for carrying the current to the device. However, they are used in very small components that require very little energy.

Thanks to the developing technology, EIDE (Enhanced IDE) with 80 pins is launched. However, the old term was used extensively for convenience.

Versions and Transfer Speeds

Other Name
Fast-IDE, Ultra-ATA
ATA-4, Ultra-ATA/33
33 MB/s
ATA-5, Ultra-ATA/66
66 MB/s
ATA-6, Ultra-ATA/100
100 MB/s
ATA-7, Ultra-ATA/133
133 MB/s
166 MB/s

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